Need help from Birders!

Started 2 months ago | Questions
Weegee
Weegee Senior Member • Posts: 2,589
Need help from Birders!

I'm going to the Galapagos islands in a few weeks and need to know which auto focus works best for birds in flight. Since I don't usually photograph ( notice I didn't use the word SHOOT.) birds, I'm lost in this area.

There probably won't be many flying birds, but just in case, I'd like to know what might work best.

I have 2 cameras I'm bring, the OM1 and OM1-II. For birds, I'll probably be using my 40-150mm f/2.8 and maybe with the 2X doubler.

Thanks in advance for the replies!

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Denjw
Denjw Veteran Member • Posts: 6,440
Re: Need help from Birders!
5

I think you will get a variety of answers to this post as everyone will have their personal preferences.

I would concentrate on using the E-M1MkII as it is far better than the E-M1 for shooting action.

The Olympus Learn Center has a number of articles on bird photography here

There is one by Olympus Visionary Scott Bourne about BIFs here

My settings can be found here

https://dwehner.zenfolio.com/my-bifs-settings.pdf

Experiment with these settings to find what best works for you.

Then practice, practice, practice and PRACTICE.

Because no matter what camera/settings you have the most important factor is the user’s ability to follow the subject in the viewfinder and keep the focus points on it.

Good luck

Dennis

http://dwehner.zenfolio.com/

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HRC2016 Senior Member • Posts: 5,210
Fieldcraft! And why you should avoid BIF
1

More important than having the right gear is knowing your subject. Do some research to learn what kinds of birds you might see, where they can be found and what you care about photographing.

I'm guessing that pictures of birds not in flight might be the best choice for you since your asking for tips now.  Also, BIF doesn't show the location/environment. So any migratory birds you capture IF would look the same as photographed elsewhere.

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enginemike New Member • Posts: 14
Re: Need help from Birders!

Wow! The web site is fantastic and contains all kinds of useful information no matter what the camera. Thanks.

Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 20,079
What you are likely to see in the Galapagos
1

Weegee wrote:

I'm going to the Galapagos islands in a few weeks and need to know which auto focus works best for birds in flight. Since I don't usually photograph ( notice I didn't use the word SHOOT.) birds, I'm lost in this area.

There probably won't be many flying birds, but just in case, I'd like to know what might work best.

I have 2 cameras I'm bring, the OM1 and OM1-II. For birds, I'll probably be using my 40-150mm f/2.8 and maybe with the 2X doubler.

Thanks in advance for the replies!

We went to the Galapagos in 2008 when I was shooting with Canon APS-C DSLRs.  We had a 100-400mm on one body and a 17-85mm on the other.  The 100-400mm was too long for a lot of the shots and I wished that I had had a wide angle lens with me as well.

You can get very close to the bigger birds like albatrosses, boobies and frigate birds.  If you want to try to get all the finches and mockingbirds (pretty boring if you aren’t a birder or Darwin fan), then you need a longer lens because they are more nervous and often fly away.

I didn’t take a lot of BIF shots - some pelicans (which are easy to shoot) and some of the flocks of frigate birds around their nesting areas.  I found Pacific Tropic birds (very pretty) very difficult to shoot because they fly so fast, and diving boobies are just about impossible.  I did shoot some sea birds from the boat when we travelling between islands, and those were quite difficult.

I wouldn’t worry too much about BIF, the interesting stuff is mostly on the ground right in front of you. 

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Chris R

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Weegee
OP Weegee Senior Member • Posts: 2,589
Thanks Chris & all others!

I am going to the Galapagos after all, for being able to get close to wild life. So as you mention, I might use my 12-40mm f/2.8 a lot more. And maybe, once in a while get in a giant tortoise with my 7-14mm f/2.8.

I was almost thinking that maybe I don't need my fast ( f/2.8 ? ) lenses and just take my 7-14mmf/4, 12-50mm and 40-150mm f/4.5. They are certainly lighter!

Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 20,079
Re: Thanks Chris & all others!

Weegee wrote:

I am going to the Galapagos after all, for being able to get close to wild life. So as you mention, I might use my 12-40mm f/2.8 a lot more. And maybe, once in a while get in a giant tortoise with my 7-14mm f/2.8.

I was almost thinking that maybe I don't need my fast ( f/2.8 ? ) lenses and just take my 7-14mmf/4, 12-50mm and 40-150mm f/4.5. They are certainly lighter!

I didn't find any need for fast lenses on my trip.  We were extremely lucky to see a volcano erupting at night, but even that I was able to shoot at f/5.6.  There was very little other low light shooting.

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Chris R

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Trevor Carpenter
Trevor Carpenter Forum Pro • Posts: 16,260
Re: Need help from Birders!

Weegee wrote:

There probably won't be many flying birds,

There will be lots of flying birds

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Weegee
OP Weegee Senior Member • Posts: 2,589
Well Trevor which auto focus do you use?

I can see you might tell me that it depends on the situation.........

Brandon birder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,432
Re: Need help from Birders!

Weegee wrote:

I'm going to the Galapagos islands in a few weeks and need to know which auto focus works best for birds in flight. Since I don't usually photograph ( notice I didn't use the word SHOOT.) birds, I'm lost in this area.

There probably won't be many flying birds, but just in case, I'd like to know what might work best.

I have 2 cameras I'm bring, the OM1 and OM1-II. For birds, I'll probably be using my 40-150mm f/2.8 and maybe with the 2X doubler.

Thanks in advance for the replies!

There are a lot of flying birds including, brown pelicans, frigate birds, Wilson’s storm petrels (follow every boat), brown noddies, Blue and red footed boobies, Galapagos hawks and lava and franklin gulls to name some of them.

You could do one custom mode for flying birds and another for everything else.

I use  1/1250s single point focus, AFC, 3-5 frames /sec Lo, and manual or shutter priority for flying birds but I’m used to that. You may need to use a larger area AF if you are not.

hope you have a wonderful holiday.

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